Padres Prospect Interview: Euclides Viloria

With a month to go before International Signing Day on July 2, the big catch from last year, Euclides Viloria, is making his mark in Arizona.

Signed for roughly $150K, Euclides Viloria was considered one of the best talents available when signing day hit.

Known to have a solid combination of pitches that includes a fastball, curveball and changeup, Viloria had a good combination of tools to work with, despite weighing 170-pounds and standing 6-foot-0 – but he is not done growing at 17-years old.

A left-hander, Viloria worked in the 89-90 MPH range with his fastball when he was seen by Padres scouts and they felt his off-speed pitches would develop well under their tutelage.

His fastball came in at 87-89 during early May with a changeup that came in at 76-78 and a slider that worked in the 72-74 MPH range.

Viloria was highly sought after but chose the Padres because of the experience he had dealing with them.

"Because they wanted me and I felt like I had a chance to make the (big league) team faster in San Diego," Viloria said through a translator.

A native of Venezuela, the Padres were ecstatic to sign him, adding a prospect and continuing to develop a presence in the Venezuelan market as serious players.

He attends a three-hour English classes each week to aid his assimilation to minor league baseball in a country that speaks English, knowing his chances of success are predicated not only on his skills on the field as a pitcher but also on his ability to adapt to a culture he has been thrown into.

"I am working everyday to try and get better," Viloria said of his English.

But his primary focus is on the mound. Because of his advanced tools, the Padres believe he can have immediate success in the Arizona Rookie League even at 17.

Viloria understands that there are parts of his game that need to be refined.

"I am trying to get better with my mechanics and my overall pitching," Viloria said. "I need to clean up my mechanics. I am trying to stay on top of the ball all the time and not rush to the plate and my footwork – staying straight.

He has set goals for himself this year, primarily to work hard each day and post solid numbers when the seasons begins. One of the reasons he feels he can excel is because of the exposure to the Padres coaching staff in Arizona.

He knows he can lean on pitching coach Dave Rajsich for advice and having been to the states twice in the last year has him eager to show his budding confidence.

"I think now I am using my mind to get better at pitching," he admitted. "I am pitching more effectively today."

Will it translate to results? Stick around for short-season to see.

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